Drake Bay is one of the most secluded and peaceful places in Costa Rica. The legend says that Sir Francis Drake, aka Pirate Drake, the first Englishman to circumnavigate the globe, enjoyed its secret corners and calmer waters, and maybe even buried some of his pirated treasures in this area.
Truth be told, no gold treasure has ever been found here, but once you come to Drake Bay you know right away why a 16th Century adventurer would have made this corner of the world a preferred stop. Other treasures are being protected and kept a secret here…the kind that provides us with rest, peace, and natural wonders!
Just like the rest of the peninsula, Drake Bay is home to amazing and dense biodiversity. At any point, you can have magical encounters like a troop of squirrel monkeys playing in the trees around your room, an inquisitive crested owl looking down into the trail you are hiking, or a colorful wave of all sized hermit crabs surrounding you at the beach as you sunbathe.
Drake Bay is Perfect for Couples & Family Vacations
The coast of the bay is home to some of the most luxurious and nature-friendly hotels in Costa Rica, making Drake Bay the perfect place to enjoy as a couple or with your family since it offers an array of activities that will please everybody.
If you want to enjoy a cultural experience, the town of Agujitas also offers diverse lodging options and the opportunity to discover the real rural Costa Rica. This town is home to over a thousand inhabitants scattered in a big landscape of farms and protected land, which was connected to the electrical grid of the country only in 2004.
At Agujitas you can find a handful of restaurants, bars and shops, and a number of tourist services and attractions. Other nearby towns, like El Progreso, have joined this venture and also offer the opportunity to enjoy a rustic and culturally enriching experience surrounded by nature.
Drake Bay is an absolute jewel that must be protected and we work with hotel partners who share this viewpoint!
Things to Do in Drake Bay
There is nothing like having the beach to yourself. That is actually possible when visiting Drake Bay if you are willing to walk a lush-green and wildlife-dense coastal trail that connects with Corcovado National Park. The trail is 20 km long and it is filled with small, hidden sandy beaches coves and lagoons that will make you feel like you’re in your own private paradise.
Corcovado National Park
The most famous attraction when in Drake Bay is Corcovado National Park, which can be reached by boat, either to the San Pedrillo station (20 min by boat) or the Sirena station (1 hour by boat). Both stations have several trails where visitors can enjoy “the most biologically intense place on Earth,” as it was described by National Geographic.
Marine Life in Drake Bay
The marine life is one of Drake Bay’s treasures. No matter your level of comfort when on the ocean, you can enjoy the richness of Drake Bay’s marine life by simply taking an observation boat tour to view dolphins and whales, enjoying a snorkeling tour, or adventuring on a scuba diving tour. All of those tours visit the waters around the Caño Island, a marine biological reserve that hosts a large amount of biodiversity in its waters and a rich archeological inland treasure. The island is only 300+ hectares, but the reserve also protects over 5000 hectares of water around it.
Pre-Columbian civilizations used the island both as a residence and as a sacred burial ground. Many artifacts have been found here, but the most impressive ones are the perfect rock spheres that were made by pre-Columbian civilization between 400 and 1500 A.D. who inhabited the Diquís region, located between the Térraba and Sierpe rivers in Costa Rica’s southwest Pacific zone.
Snorkeling & Scuba Diving in Drake Bay
The snorkeling and scuba diving available around the island’s coral reefs are the most extensive and best-kept reefs in the Pacific of Costa Rica. Those who adventure on a scuba diving trip can see many species like rays, dolphins, tunas, sea turtles and whitetip reef sharks.
Over the last few years, people from the towns of Agujitas, El Progreso, Rancho Quemado, and Los Planes y Los Ángeles have developed a series of attractions and services that make the experience at Drake Bay even more enjoyable and interesting. Locals have turned their properties into perfect nature observatories, offering trails for day and night hikes, horseback riding, butterfly gardens, river kayaking and canopy tours.
How to Get to Drake Bay
The town of Agujitas is the hub for all the hotels and attractions in Drake Bay. You can reach the town by land, water, and air, and all of these means of transportation offer a fair amount of adventure.
Two different airlines fly several times a day to Drake Bay’s airstrip, which is located a few kilometers away of Agujitas in the town of El Progreso. Once you land, a taxi will take you to Agujitas crossing a river on the way. During the rainy season you might have to transfer to a big truck to cross the rivers.
The most common way to reach Drake Bay is via Sierpe river. You first reach the town by the same name by land (it is located 15 km south of Palmar Sur and a few miles from the Pan American Highway) and then take an hour boat ride through the magnificent mangroves of Sierpe river and then along the Pacific coastline of the Osa Peninsula. Most of the lodges at Drake Bay can arrange this transfer for you.
Another way to reach the town of Sierpe is flying into the Palmar Sur airport and then taking a cab to Sierpe.
Since the beginning of the century, there is a plan to build an international airport in Palmar Sur, hoping to cater all the tourists that come to Costa Rica with the intention of visiting the South Pacific region of Costa Rica. Environmental studies for the airport were presented in 2013, but no further steps have been taken since. A lot of people oppose the construction, because, even though the airport could help improve the economy in this region, increased visitors could also have a strong (and potentially negative) impact on the fragile ecosystem in the area.
And, if it’s the dry season, and you are an excellent off-road driver, you can reach Agujitas by land, entering the Peninsula from the northeast and turning west at the town of Rincón. This is a very scenic route, but be aware that it is a gravel road and you have to cross several rivers.
The Weather at Drake Bay
The weather in the Osa Península is hot, rainy and very humid. The driest time of the year goes from mid-December to mid-April. It is rainier from mid-April to mid-December, with a strong peak in rainstorms during September and October.